Bendigo MPs demand hospital finish date

BENDIGO Labor MPs Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards have accused Bendigo Health chairman Michael Langdon of playing politics with the new Bendigo hospital project.

Ms Allan called on Dr Langdon to set aside his political preferences and answer questions on where the new Bendigo hospital project was at.

 “Last week Liberal Health Minister David Davis refused to say if he was sticking with his Government’s commitment that Bendigo’s new hospital would be completed by 2016,” Ms Allan said.

“When the Liberal and National Parties had to be dragged into matching Labor’s commitment for a new hospital for Bendigo prior to the last election, they signed up to Labor’s timeline – construction to start by the end of 2012 and the new hospital completed by 2016.

“With the tender process now in complete shambles, the community deserves answers and deserves to know just when their new hospital will be finished.”

In Bendigo last week, Health Minister David Davis said he was proud of the progress being made with the Bendigo hospital project.

“I think you need to stay tuned and I think you might be pleasantly surprised that we get the very, very best outcome for Bendigo,” he said.

“I can guarantee we’re going to get a great outcome for Bendigo, I think you’re going to get the biggest hospital in country Victoria’s history, a hospital that’s $102 million more than Jacinta Allan promised."

Construction of the $630 million hospital was due to start late last year but the tender process hit a snag in early December when one of the two consortia bidding for the contract, Lend Lease, was involved in a furore over an agreement they signed with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said pressure needed to be put on Mr Langdon and the state government.

“As the Chair of the Board, it is a reasonable expectation that Michael Langdon would place the interests of the community first and the Liberal Party second by pressuring the Baillieu Liberal National Government to reveal the new hospital’s completion date,” she said.

“Mr Langdon needs to show he does have the interests of patients first and not the Liberal Party and do all he can to make sure the new Bendigo Hospital is finished by 2016."

Bendigo Health board chair Michael Langdon hit back at Ms Allen and Ms Edwards and said it was disappointing the state opposition were using the new hospital project as a "political football".

Dr Langdon echoed the comments of health minister David Davis by saying that the hospital would be a state of the art facility.

He said it was "embarrasing" that members of the Labor party were criticising the timeline of the project.

"I find it very disappointing that the Labor party are using such an exciting project to attack me personally. Bendigo Health is a community asset and should not be used as a political football by anyone, let alone our sitting members," he said.

"The new Bendigo Hospital is going to deliver a very special hospital for our region."

I believe Ms Allan and Ms Edwards will be embarrassed when they see the plans for the new hospital and realise that all their negative comments are unfounded."

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